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The Gongaza Bulletin: Book Review

Now & Then: an unforeseeable future

by Vaness Ingram
Denis O’Neill’s memoir transcends its Vietnam setting with themes common among college students.

Denis O’Neill is an author, journalist, screenwriter and former Dartmouth hockey captain.
Growing up is a slow, difficult and painful process filled with responsibility and permanent change. This process becomes even more arduous with the added responsibility of finishing college and finding a job, all while being on your own as an adult.

As students come closer to their graduation date, one thing everyone can agree on is that the world is a scary place. It is much larger than a college campus and a hundred times larger than your hometown. It’s a cold, cruel world where survival depends entirely on you. Those truths are what make college such a wonderful time of carelessness, craziness and nonsense, coupled with the occasional completion of actual work.

Growing up is a slow, difficult and painful process filled with responsibility and permanent change. This process becomes even more arduous with the added responsibility of finishing college and finding a job, all while being on your own as an adult.

As students come closer to their graduation date, one thing everyone can agree on is that the world is a scary place. It is much larger than a college campus and a hundred times larger than your hometown. It’s a cold, cruel world where survival depends entirely on you. Those truths are what make college such a wonderful time of carelessness, craziness and nonsense, coupled with the occasional completion of actual work.

“Whiplash” by Denis O’Neill is a story that personifies this truth, but with a much darker spin. In this story, the Dartmouth college class of 1969-1970 is faced with the rare task of graduating with a diploma and a draft number — a task previously unique to students graduating during WWII. Most students take this dark truth in stride and begin their last hoorah as seniors and free college students, before they enter the draft lottery and plunge into chaos. Some take it as a reality check and contemplate their uncertain future among confusion and inevitable ends. Read the Full Article »

  • Posted by  Denis O'Neill
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About the Author

Denis R. O'Neill began publishing articles and short stories in Sports Illustrated, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, Fly Rod & Reel, Antiques, American Photographer and others. His first original screenplay, "The River Wild", was produced in 1994. His second screenplay, "A Shot At Glory" was released in 2001. He recently self-published: "WHIPLASH – When the Vietnam War rolled a Hand Grenade into the Animal House". Several other projects, including a novelization of "The River Wild", are waiting on deck.

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